Driving is driving but when you’re on the road in the summertime, it feels a lot different from the winter. There’s more traffic, your car is more prone to overheating, and people are driving faster in general. If you’ll be on the road a lot or taking a summer road trip, prepare by getting cheap car insurance quotes that best fit your budget. Improve your driving skills by being mindful of the tips below.
1. Avoid Excessive Speed. Technically, driving over the posted speed limit is speeding, and can get you pulled over and fined. But, if you are traveling faster than the general traffic flow, you’re more likely to get pulled over. Rain and fog should naturally lower what speed is considered safe for the roadway. Drivers tend to speed in the summer because of the clear weather, but doing so will cause increased gas consumption, a possible ticket, and lowered reaction times.
2. No Weaving. Those same clear roads in the summer make it more enticing to weave in and out of lanes, between cars. Avoid the impatience because every time you change a lane there’s a risk of collision involved. Make a habit of keeping your composure and only change lanes when completely necessary.
3. Check Mirrors Often. While this should be habit all year round, it holds true even more so in the summertime because speeders and motorcyclists can move past you out of (seemingly) nowhere. It’s best to be completely aware of what’s going on behind, next to, and in front of you, so adjust your mirrors as necessary and be on the lookout for those who are speeding up behind you.
4. No Tailgating. Just because the roads are clear, doesn’t mean you will have ample time to brake if you’re too close to the car in front of you. Remember, the name of winning the driving game is to be patient. If someone is truly driving too slowly, wait until you can safely pass them and stay one car length for every 10 miles behind.
5. Look at Your Tires. The hot weather can be brutal on tires. Potholes and more debris on the road in the summertime make them more vulnerable to puncture. The warmer air increases the tire pressure, which can create dangerous bulges and lead to blowouts. Check them regularly with a pressure gauge to keep them properly inflated.
6. Review Safety Features. Knowing what safety features your car has can make your drive safer. Take a few minutes to review the vehicle owner’s manual and get to know your car more intimately. Some features you may not be aware of include:
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic stability control
- Safety belt features
- Brake assist
- Automatic emergency braking
- Pedestrian detection
7. Allergies. Ahhh, the summer. Everyone loves the sun and the heat but nobody likes the sneezing and runny nose that comes with the allergies. Taking allergy medication can make you considerably fatigued, so be aware of dizziness and sleepiness before heading out. On the flip side, be aware that other drivers may be forcing themselves to drive under the same conditions.
8. Drive Slower. When driving through a residential area or city, there are bound to be many more people out in the streets. Whether they’re walking their dogs or riding their bikes, people are out and about and much of the time they aren’t cognizant of traffic around them. Slow down and watch for kids playing, balls and dogs out in the street, and bicyclists.
9. Watch for Overheating. This applies to both the car’s radiator and to you! With the summer heat, your car can easily overheat if coolant levels are low. Other common causes including an inoperative cooling fan, a collapsed radiator hose, and a loss of coolant fluid through leaks. Keep an eye on the engine temperature gauge, and regularly check the fluid levels yourself or have your mechanic do it. Keep your air conditioner working well and stay hydrated so you won’t bake inside your car in the heat!
10. Invest in Good Sunglasses. Sun glare can be a real issue in the summer time when skies are clearer and days are longer. Sunglasses rated with the highest UV protection will block a majority of the UVA and UVB rays, which are best for your eyes. Polarized glasses have a special coating on them that are exceptionally good at blocking glare. This increases visibility and enhances your ability to navigate and maneuver on the road.
Summer driving requires a special set of skills. Since there are different environmental elements at work than in the winter time, you’ll want to brush up on your knowledge to improve your abilities and confidence.